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Muztagh Update: Miskovic Rescued, Kozjek Still Missing
Posted on: August 28, 2008
Muztagh Tower (7284m), as viewed from the Baltoro Glacier, Karakoram, Pakistan. On August 25, Pavle Kozjek fell several hundred meters after breaking through a cornice on the northeast side of this peak; for the next three days his partner, Dejan Miskovic, attempted to descend with few supplies and no rope. Miskovic was rescued by Tomaz Humar and Ales Kozelj by helicopter today, August 28. Kozjek has yet to be located. [Photo] Courtesy of www.wikipedia.org
Editor's Note: This NewsWire was unavailable temporarily while Alpinist updated the information contained herein.
Dejan Miskovic, the Slovenian climber trapped on Muztagh Tower (7284m), Karakoram, Pakistan, was rescued this morning by Tomaz Humar and Ales Kozelj. Miskovic had been stranded on the peak with few supplies after his partner, Pavle Kozjek, fell through a cornice (read more in the August 25, 2008 NewsWire). Miskovic is in Skardu, healthy.
Miskovic and Kozjek's aim was an alpine-style first ascent on the unclimbed 2200-meter northeast face of Muztagh Tower. The pair began climbing around midnight on August 24, 2008, from base camp (5040m) on the Younghousband Glacier. After fifteen hours they reached the saddle between Muztagh Tower and a "sharp peak" (ca. 6550m) to the east. Due to poor conditions, the pair set up camp and decided they would try to descend the next day. Early in the morning, on August 25, the accident happened: the ridge cornice near their tent, where Pavle Kozjek stood, suddenly broke. He fell several hundred meters down the northeast face.
Miskovic was stuck at the altitude of 6300m with no food, sleeping bag nor rope. However, he slowly continued to crawl down the mountain to 5300m, where he was stranded above a very treacherous and heavily crevassed glacier for the last two days. Luckily he was in phone contact with friends in Slovenia, who initiated a rescue.
On August 25, a different Slovenian team had just completed a climb on K7 and were in base camp when they were notified of Miskovic and Kozjek's peril. An helicopter was arranged to fly three K7 expedition members—Ales Cesen, Rok Blagus and Miha Hrastelj—to Muztagh Tower the next day. The three arrived safely and were able to communicate with Miskovic about his location and status.
Meanwhile Tomaz Humar had made arrangements with the Pakistan government to launch a rescue mission; he and Ales Kozelj flew from Slovenia to Pakistan and arrived in Skardu on the morning of Wednesday, August 27.
Though weather precluded any helicopter flight on the 27th, Cesen and Blagus traveled on foot from base camp (eight hours round-trip) to search for Kozjek beneath the northeast face. Though they discovered Kozjek's helmet, backpack and jacket, there was no sign of the missing man, or where he might be.
Early this morning, August 28, there was a break in the weather, and Humar and Kozelj, assisted by the K7 team that had been in communication with Miskovic, flew a rescue mission from Skardu to Muztagh Tower in army helicopters led by Col. Nawazish and his team. They retrieved Miskovic at 5300 meters, then searched for Kozjek. Efforts to locate Kozjek remain unsuccessful.
Sources: Tomo Cesen, Nazir Sabir, Urban Golob